Friday, August 25, 2006

World Championships : USA v Australia Preview

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Sunday 1pm (Japan time) sees Team USA take on the Australian Boomers. Check here for your local time on the match.
USA has gone through Pool D undefeated and thus meets Pool C's 4th place, an Australian team led by Milwaukee's Andrew Bogut and former Vancouver Grizzlies (1997) draftee CJ Bruton.
Bogut will likely lack interior support against the USA frontline including Elton Brand, Dwight Howard and Chris Bosh. The Australian team, decimated by injuries to key big men, including reigning Australian NBL MVP Chris Anstey, who was also drafted in 1997 - by the Trail Blazers. In addition, former Boomers captain Matt Nielsen currently playing in Lithuania, has been unable to obtain reasonable insurance to cover his club contract and will be unable to compete.
However, the athleticism of key swingmen Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and point guard Chris Paul will likely spell the biggest advantage for Team USA. Outside of Bruton, Australia does not have an experienced backup PG, with Baylor Bears' Aaron Bruce being the main candidate to see some minutes. Experienced campaigners at SG and SF, Jason Smith and Sam MacKinnon, whilst being athletic, do not have the measure for Team USA's young guns.
Off the bench for Australia, potential 2007 NBA Draft candidate Brad Newley is worth watching for his explosive scoring. Joe Johnson and Kirk Hinrich will serve as a lesson to the young Australian looking to make his mark for an entry to the NBA.
In a show of new humility for Team USA (at least publicly), LeBron has come out and said that Australia is "pretty good." That's superstar speak for, "we're going to kill them."

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